Sycamore Partners is buying Talbots Inc. for $369-million, plus debt -- a steal considering that the struggling women’s retailer had snubbed earlier, higher bids.
The private equity firm will take over Talbots for $2.75 a share in a board-approved deal expected to close in the third quarter. Last week, Sycamore walked away from talks with the retailer after offering $3.05 a share. In early May, Talbots had sniffed that a $3-a-share proposal was “inadequate.”
Why the change of heart? Investors were displeased with all the back and forth from Hingham, Mass.-based Talbots and forced its stock into a deep plunge.
The final purchase price for the retailer is 76% higher than its closing stock price on Dec. 6, just before Sycamore’s initial overtures became public. But compared to the closing price on May 30, it’s a 113% premium.
During Thursday trading, the company’s stock more than doubled to $2.59 a share from its Wednesday’s closing price of $1.29 a share. A year ago, the stock was trading at $4.77 a share.
Revenue at the chain is down; the company is slashing its store count to boost profit. There are currently 516 stores across North America.
"We are pleased with the value this transaction delivers to our stockholders and believe that this is a positive development for all of our stakeholders,” Talbots Chief Executive Trudy Sullivan said in a statement.